Our Leadership

JAZZ HOUSE KiDS - Leadership Board

JAZZ HOUSE KiDS board and advisors join special guest Gregory Porter at the RALPH PUCCI 7th Annual Jazz Set with host Christian McBride and JAZZ HOUSE founder Melissa Walker.


Board Chair

Terry Woodard, Board Chair
Global Private Bank Vice Chair, JP Morgan Chase

Melissa Walker - President + Founder of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS

Melissa Walker, Founder & President, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS

Christian McBride - Artistic Director at JAZZ HOUSE KiDS

Christian McBride, Artistic Director
GRAMMY Award-Winning Bassist, Bandleader & Educator

Janelle Anderson, Vice Chair
Chief Strategy Officer, Century Therapeutics

Susan Korones Gifford, Vice Chair
Freelance Writer and Editor

Michael Jordan
Circuit Executive, United States Courts for the Second Circuit

Neal Lazar
President, Manhattan Mechanical

Martin Melilli
Market President – Commercial, TD Bank

David Placek
Managing Partner of BDP Holdings LLC

Rhonda Robinson
Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Nicole Pucci
Director of Operations, Ralph Pucci International

Steve Shadman
Director of Data Science, Meta Platforms

Janet Shapiro
President, Brandenburg Productions

Sandra Smith, Secretary
Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

Cecile Sutherland
Founder & President, Cedas Home Care Services, LLC

Gary Taylor, Treasurer
Chief Operating Officer at Ready Capital

“Through JAZZ HOUSE KiDS , they are developing some of the country’s most promising young musicians by providing them with world class educational and performance opportunities. Their students consistently impress, not only because of their musical abilities, but also because of their focus, presence and commitment to quality. JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, besides having a great name, is doing much more than educating musicians – they are developing cultural leaders. Something we desperately need at this time.”

~ Wynton Marsalis says of Melissa and Christian’s work


  • Margarethe Laurenzi – Advisory Board Chair
  • Dr. Valerie Allusson
  • Hilary Lane Apicella
  • Phillip Byrd
  • Rose Cali
  • Gregory Floyd
  • Chris Gifford
  • Barbara Hines
  • Valerie Lynch
  • Lee Mergner
  • Maria Pilar Paradiso
  • Ralph Pucci
  • Donald Savoy
  • Fred Smagorinsky
  • Tres Williams
  • Wayne Winborne


  • Ondine Landa Abramson
  • Roberta Baldwin
  • Jason DeSalvo
  • Andrew Ellis
  • Nick Miceli
  • Charlie Sample
  • Roseann Shaiman